Malaysia reclaimed the hijacked MT Orkim Harmony on June 19 with all crew members unharmed after the pirates fled.

Malaysian Navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar said all eight hijackers fled the oil tanker in rescue boats at around 8:30 pm on June 18, but the captain of the hijacked tanker did not inform authorities until five hours later as the pirates had threatened him not to reveal their escape plan.

All 22 crew members, including 16 Malaysians, five Indonesians and one Myanmar national, were released at approximately 2:30 am on June 19, with only one having sustained injuries during the ordeal.

Earlier on in the incident, the pirates had requested a Malaysian Navy ship that was following the hijacked tanker to keep a distance of five nautical miles, threatening to harm the crew if the ship got too close. The pirates said they were heading towards Natuna Island in Indonesia.

The Orkim Harmony, escorted by the Malaysian Navy's KD Handalan, is now heading to Kuantan Port in Malaysia, expecting to arrive at 2 am on June 20.

Abdul Aziz Jaafar added that Malaysia is pursuing the pirates, with support from the Australian surveillance plane P-3C Orion. Malaysia has also requested assistance from Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

The MT Orkim Harmony, carrying 6,000 metric tonnes of petrol worth some 21 million RM (5.6 million USD), went missing off the East coast of Malaysia's Southern Johor State on June 11. It was en route to Kuantan Port in Pahang State from the port of Malacca on the West coast of Malaysia.

The vessel was detected in Cambodian waters on June 18.-VNA